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How to Become a Plumber Without an Apprenticeship

There are many ways to qualify as a plumber in the United Kingdom. Whether you’re a school graduate looking for an apprenticeship or an adult looking to retrain as a plumber.

Is it possible to become a plumber without first completing an apprenticeship?

You will become a plumber if you do the following:

  • Completing a traditional apprenticeship
  • Completing plumbing on fast training route
  • Serving as a plumber’s mate

Plumbing Apprenticeship the Old-Fashioned Way

The traditional route involves doing a four-year plumbing apprenticeship. To do that, you must be employed by a plumbing company that will supply you with on-the-job training.

The apprenticeship is usually completed in four years on a block release basis, with one week spent completing theory and technical training and two weeks practising alongside a plumber.

Usually, you will undergo training on household heating systems in the third year of your apprenticeship, enabling you to become Gas Safe Registered at the end of your apprenticeship.

The final year of your apprenticeship is all about gaining work knowledge, which would give you “period served” if you effectively complete it.


  • Since the course is sponsored, you would not be paying for it
  • You have plenty of time to finish your studies and earn your degree
  • Working with a tradesman had a lot of on-the-job experience
  • When training, you will be paid


  • Since it will take you four years to register, the income potential will be delayed
  • This day, not many companies can afford to employ apprentices
  • Typically, only students between the ages of 16 and 21 are qualified
  • Some of the material covered in the programme, such as lead work, is not always needed

Plumbing Education on the Fast Track

There are various fast track plumbing training programmes accessible for students who wish to become a plumber quickly. This course might not be as comprehensive as traditional apprenticeships, but it will provide you with the fundamentals to get you started with your plumbing career.

In general, this is the most stable choice for those who have been unable to secure an apprenticeship.

The City and Guilds Accredited Level 2 Diploma in Plumbing Studies, which takes 8-10 weeks to complete, is the most popular choice for fast-track plumbing preparation.


  • Since the course is approved, you will learn anything you need to know to be qualified
  • The training requires 8-10 weeks to finish, allowing you to start making money sooner
  • Those above the age of 16 are welcome to enrol in the course
  • The training would train you for potential prospects for upskilling, such as being Gas Safe Registered


  • You must pay to complete the training
  • The training will be less rigorous than that of a traditional apprenticeship
  • There is no on-the-job experience
  • You will not be taught on gas

Serving as a plumber’s mate

You might start as a plumber’s assistant or “mate” and learn on the job if you have a link in the industry. This route is not generally recommended since it does not allow you to become eligible, but it may be an excellent place to start your plumbing career.


  • Start making money right away
  • Learn functional plumbing skills on the job


  • If you use this route, you will not be qualified.
  • You would not be able to maximise your potential.

How long does it take to become a plumber?

The training required to become a plumber can vary depending on the course you want. A traditional apprenticeship can last up to four years, while fast track plumbing training can last between four and sixteen weeks. If you’re going to work on gas appliances, preparation will take around six months to go the fast track route.

Updated on December 23, 2021

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